Bronx, NY—The Yankees added to their effort to reach a playoff spot this season with a 5-3 victory over the Chicago White Sox on Saturday afternoon. There was some degree of pressure as they were performing in front of a sell-out crowd of 47,594 as well as in front of Yankee heroes who had earned four World Championships in five years under the direction of manager Joe Torre, who was saluted in a pre-game ceremony. In addition, Yankees Managing Partner Hal Steinbrenner was in the ballpark.
Torre threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Torre’s successor, Joe Girardi spoke of the importance of the Yankee win, “It’s nice to win on a day like this. So many [great Yankees] came back. Joe [Torre] meant a lot to a lot of people.”
Yankee pitching was again worthy of praise and worthy of securing a win. Hiroki Kuroda, the only member of the Opening Day starting rotation not to be on the disabled list this year, posted his 16th quality start, his fifth in succession. The 39 year-old yielded only five hits and two runs in his six inning stint.
Two consecutive doubles by Conor Gillespie and Alexi Ramirez to start the second brought in the first Chicago run.
The other White Sox run off Kuroda came in the fifth. Alejandro de Aza led-off by drawing a walk. He moved to second on a wild pitch and was plated on a double by Jose Abreu. The Cuban native is moving to easily capture the Rookie of the Year award. The sensation is batting .307 with 33 home runs and 94 runs batted in. Abreu still has 33 games remaining to add to his already impressive totals.
After the game, the Yankee manager stressed Kuroda’s importance as the season nears its end, “We need him down the stretch. He has the most experience out there.”
As on the previous night, Martin Prado was crucial to the win. On Friday night, Prado hit a two-run homer and a walk-off single in the ninth. He did no less on Saturday afternoon. He singled in the second with two men on base. In the fourth, he doubled in two runs. Two innings later, he again doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly.
Girardi expressed his happiness with obtaining Prado for the Yankees, “He’s a good player. He grinds it out every day. He moves around. He gives us flexibility. He’s been a good acquisition.”
Yankee starter, Brandon McCarthy, who was a teammate of Prado on Arizona expected Prado to do well as a Yankee. Shortly after the versatile player was acquired, McCarthy told reporters, “I think that [coming to the Yankees] is going to bring out the best in him [Prado]. He was discouraged in Arizona.”
Rather than take bows for his accomplishments, Prado credited the entire team, ‘It was a team win and it was a team effort.”
The three game series and the Yankee homestand will conclude with a Sunday matinee.